Stanford Prison Experiment Essays

To begin the experiment the Stanford Psychology department interviewed middle class, white males that were both physically and mentally healthy to pick 18 participants.

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Further, the study’s effect on participants caused ethical standards for research to change significantly.

Thus, this study remains highly relevant to the present day. (2007) “Revisiting the Stanford prison experiment: Could participant self-selection have led to the cruelty?

Advertisements for a study on the psychology of imprisonment, offering $15 per day, were used to recruit twenty-four male students with no prior criminal arrests, medical conditions or psychological disorders.

They were randomly assigned prisoner or prison guard roles in a mock basement prison (Zimbardo, 1999).

Further, results of the study have contributed to development of various theories and concepts in social psychology.

The Stanford prison experiment is an important study in the history of social psychology for experts and laymen.They had to follow strict rules, such as silence during rest hours, eating at meal times, cleaning prison cells etc.The prisoners were allowed to quit and though some did, many seemed to forget that they could leave via straightforward procedures.This study highlights various issues that are still relevant to the present day. (2007) The Lucifer effect: Understanding how good people turn evil, New York: Random House. Results arguably demonstrated the obedience and malleability of people given legitimizing dogma and adequate institutional/collective support, cognitive dissonance theory and power of authority. (1999) “Reflections on the Stanford prison experiment: Genesis, transformation, consequences, in Blass, T. (1999) The Stanford prison experiment, [Online], Available: May 2012]. Situational characteristics affected participants’ behaviour, rather than personal characteristics (Zimbardo et al., 1999; Zimbardo, 2007; Dean, 2007). (ed.), Obedience to authority: Current perspectives on the Milgram Paradigm, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Though all students signed a consent form prior to participation and the study was cleared by relevant committees at Stanford, Office of Naval Research and the American Psychological Association (Zimbardo et al., 1999), the study is criticised as being unethical and, subsequently, caused a widespread revision in ethical standards (Carnahan & Mc Farland, 2007). (2007) Our dark hearts: The Stanford prison experiment, [Online], Available: May 2012]. (2011) Stanford prison experiment continues to shock, [Online], Available: []. Given military like uniforms, whistles, and billy clubs the guards looked almost as if they worked in a real prison.As for the prisoners, real police surprised them at their homes and arrested them outside where others could see as if they were really criminals. ...n had over everyone involved has been shown when participants were interviewed months later, and were all extremely surprised about the way they acted during the experiment.Zimbardo (1971) designed the study to understand development of norms and effects of social roles and expectations on ‘normal’, healthy and otherwise average men by simulating a prison environment as accurately as possible.The study was conducted at Stanford and funded by a grant from the U. Office of Naval Research to study antisocial behaviour and conflict among prisoners and military guards.


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